“History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘See you later.”
– Eduardo Galeano
Gifted RTD alums
Restore the Delta, throughout its nine-year history, has been fortunate to work with brilliant talented people from every age and background – from Delta farmer Alex Hildebrand to local activist Javier Padilla Reyes; from river advocate Jerry Cadagan to League of Women Voters water leader Jane Wagner-Tyack; from fishing advocate Corey Cate to campaign assistant Jessica Iniguez. Some of our friends have passed from this world; some have retired and taken breaks from extreme public advocacy; some have left to further their education.
As it has been with those who have left our campaign over the years, today we send off Steve and Janice Hopcraft with much gratitude and love. After twenty-six years of media campaign work with grassroots causes that served the principles of economic, social, and environmental justice for all Californians, the Hopcrafts are taking a well-earned break from public advocacy/media work. They have worked hand-in-hand with Delta and statewide water advocates on stopping the Delta tunnels, protecting the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary from the present water grab, and for fairness in water policy throughout the state. The Delta community will remain forever grateful for their years of work on the campaign.
Yet, as is the norm for our campaign, Restore the Delta draws outstanding people into its ranks – people who care about the Delta as a place, fisheries, farming, water for the public interest, and the economic and environmental health of the entire state. This is why we are pleased to announce that Brian P. Smith Public Relations of Oakland is now serving as Restore the Delta’s media consultant firm. Brian grew up in the Delta, a Stockton native, and has twenty-years-experience in environmental media press relations and advocacy. Most recently, Brian has served as the Oceans Campaign Manager at EarthJustice, and prior to that as their Press Secretary working on Delta water issues. In fact, Brian Smith was one of Restore the Delta’s primary founding members, having written our first grant and doing the on-the-ground legwork to create RTD’s first meetings, website, and year of work.
We will miss our friends the Hopcrafts, but already enjoy working with Brian as we gear up for the next round of the fight against the BDCP/CA Water Fix/Brown Tunnel Plan.
Speaking of the CA Water Fix…The Fix Is In
Restore the Delta is hearing from multiple sources that the Environmental Impact Report for the revised Delta Tunnels plan may be issued as early as July 10, 2015. It is our understanding that only a portion of the plan is being rewritten, about 8,000 pages worth, that the intention is for the comment period to be abbreviated, and that the Brown Administration is seeking to have the project permitted by January 2016. Incidentally, the Notice of Intent to move forward with the reviewing process of the project by the Bureau of Reclamation was published about three weeks ago, and still calls the project the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
Clearly, BDCP/CA Water Fix/Brown Tunnels/Brown Pipes lurch forward carrying an internal identity crisis, in the hopes of somehow confusing the public to support a project that will not make any additional water for this drought or future droughts in a world with a changing climate. Rather than considering the alternatives put forward for consideration by the broader environmental and water communities, or putting in place common sense water solutions, the Brown administration is determined to ignore the thousands of comments filed against the project, and to forcefully attempt to jam it onto the people of California to serve special interest water districts like Westlands, Kern County Water Agency, and Metropolitan Water District. These agencies want the tunnels so that their public/private interests can be maintained through the wholesale water business, serving the top 1% of corporate growers, speculative desert development, and fracking interests.
Sadly, Governor Brown cares more about meeting their demands than he does about the health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta, the 4 million people who live in the region, meeting Clean Water Act standards for the Delta and Bay, protecting Pacific Coast fisheries, or creating sustainable water solutions to serve the other 99% of Californians.
This is why it is more important than ever for those who want to see the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary saved and restored for our children and future generations to engage, engage, engage with this campaign. We will all need to participate in the public comment process to make our voices heard. And Restore the Delta will need, you, our supporters to buy signs and stickers, reshare our media and social media work with your networks, host us for speaking engagements, attend our events, and rallies, and donate money at any and all giving levels when possible. Now is the time to double the size of this campaign.
Governor Brown’s attempts to jam the tunnels on California, along with the State Water Board’s refusal to manage the Delta for drought conditions, and Congressman Devin Nunes’ Federal legislation to gut the ESA and Delta water quality standards under drought emergency legislation is the trifecta to wring, one way or another, each and every last drop of fresh water out of the Delta.
This is the fight of our lives – the fight for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. When it’s over, will you be remembered for doing everything in your power to save the heart of California?
Here’s a link to our latest video on the real cost of the Delta tunnels: